Ever since the Cobourg Community Centre opened in 2011 with two ice pads, there has been a question of what to do with the Jack Heenan Arena and the Memorial Arena. In late 2011 the West Northumberland Curling Club took over the newer Jack Heenan Arena but the aging Memorial Arena was still being used each winter (well, Labour Day to March 5). But now the cost of necessary repairs and upgrades look to put an end to its life as an Arena. The building could still be used for something else and an Ad Hoc committee and a Public meeting are recommended to help with a decision. There are still some users but staff believe they can be accommodated at the CCC and at other nearby Arenas.
This process was initiated by Mayor John Henderson during the budgeting process earlier this year so a report with staff recommendations was presented to Council on July 22. The report made it seem likely that the Memorial Arena will cease to be used for Hockey and perhaps get re-purposed; staff are pointing to the soon to be released Cultural Plan for ideas for usage of its 35,728 square feet of floor space.
The Memorial Arena opened in January 1950 but a fire in 1953 closed it until it was rebuilt in 1954. (Before 1950, I believe hockey was only played outside). Additions to the main building took place in 1992 and 1997. And of course, accessibility per AODA was not applicable then so it does not meet AODA standards which will be mandatory by 2025.
In 2018 in prime time, the Arena was used 64% of the time and less than 5% of the time in non-prime time. [Prime Time: all day Saturday and all day Sunday and also 4:00 pm till close Monday to Friday. Non Prime Time: 8:00 am until 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. See link below for more usage stats.]
Current Operating Cost
In 2018, the approved budget to operate the Memorial Arena was $174,286 with the actual cost being $187,409 as per the below chart.
|Net cost to Town||$174,286||$187,409||($13,123)|
A Condition Assessment of the Memorial Arena was completed by Pinchin Ltd, in February 2018 as part of the Town of Cobourg’s asset management plan. This report included specialist reviews of the mechanical, electrical, fire and life safety systems, AODA and code compliance.
The following table lists the estimated costs (see link below for full details on years 6 to 25):
|Element||Year 1-5||Years 6-25||All years|
|Exterior site elements||$96,731||$345,923||$442,654|
|Fire and life safety||$36,827||$194,757||$231,584|
|Accessibility and Code Compliance||$574,715||$100,781||$675,496|
There are also concerns about a possible environmental contamination. If the headers which supply brine to the floor were to fail, the clean up would be costly and new headers would cost several hundred thousand dollars. There is also mould which should be removed at a cost of $48,000.
Based on these costs and the limited usage, staff then looked at ways to accommodate the small number of users (who, by the way, come from nearby areas – not just from Cobourg) and found that the CCC could provide more ice time and Baltimore, Port Hope and Grafton Arenas can accommodate enough additional ice rental hours. That is, with the Arena closed, everyone wanting ice time could get it although not perhaps at the hours wanted.
Decommissioning would cost up to $ 50,000 and the building would still require fire protection and insurance at $ 25,000 per year. But the savings each year that the Memorial building is not open would be at least $150,000. Staff recommend that this amount be placed in a holding account each year for future repurposing of the building.
So the final recommendation by staff is that:
The Memorial Arena remain closed (it is closed for the summer) and that an Ad Hoc Committee be struck to determine the future use of the Memorial Arena. The Community Services Division is also currently conducting a Cultural Master Plan. As part of this review it is important that an ad hoc committee be struck to conduct a thorough and proper review of potential future uses of this longstanding building. An additional memo will be forthcoming with details about this proposed ad hoc committee (and a related public meeting).
It is planned to be on the Agenda for the Council meeting on 12 August.
Hockey Ice time Users